EyeCheck Solutions

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EyeCheck Solutions: Eradicating preventable blindness globally through mobile app

Kitchener, CanadaCalcutta, India
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$100,000 - $250,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

EyeCheck is building a vision screening smartphone app and future generations of our technology will include a handheld diagnostic tool which will allow anyone, anywhere to provide an eyeglass prescription. Later generations will also test for cataracts, glaucoma and cardiovascular problems.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if everyone in the world had access to basic eye care?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The WHO estimates that about a billion people globally lack access to vision care. While affordable corrective glasses have become ubiquitous, prescriptions remain elusive for the masses. Ultimately, this problem exists because the way we provide care via optometrists, ophthalmologists etc. has not changed in decades: we still rely on the same slow, subjective and expensive techniques for vision screening.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

We are building affordable vision screening tools that are faster, more mobile and easier to use than anything else on the market. We will point out vision problems in seconds, moving towards quantitative prescriptions in six months, and health and wellness feedback within two years. A picture of a person’s face is taken using our app during which our software manipulates the flash on the camera, then our image processing algorithms go to work onboard the phone. After which we are then able to output eye health information such as if the child is developing strabismus or amblyopia. Later generations of our technology will test for cataracts, glaucoma and cardiovascular problems.

Awards

We were named by the James Dyson Foundation as one of the top 20 inventions of 2014. We are also a Kairos50 company, involved in Impact8, and Creative Destructive Labs. We won the Velocity Fund Finals award as well as several other awards.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

EyeCheck was created as an enterprise focused on eradicating preventable blindness globally. With our technology, wait times will be reduced and more patients will be seen per day. Anyone who uses our tool will be able to detect vision problems, identify eyeglass prescriptions, and make appropriate referrals to ophthalmologists and optometrists. The first generation of our app which will solely screen children under six will be used in collaboration with physicians and parents. Through our marketing and testing, both parents and clinicians will know of our technology. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of children cannot see the chalkboard. Through our technology we are looking to change that statistic.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are still in the process of building our prototypes. We have not entered the market or had any impact to date. The first generation of our app will focus on solely children under six as their in the high risk age group for severe irreversible eye problems such as strabismus and amblyopia. The next generation will focus on the elderly age group and then we will develop for the six to sixty age range. We started data collection and our user workflow analysis in India, the country with the highest rural population. We are projected to reach anywhere from 5,000-10,000 people within the next year. Although we are still very early stage and are working on enhancing our annual impact. The goal for our products is to make the eye care process easier, convenient, and affordable.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

At its full potential, EyeCheck will be used to determine eye prescriptions and detect other eye problems like cataracts, glaucoma, and cardiovascular disease. It will be used in eye camps around the world, allowing 10 times the amount of patients to be seen per day. Patients will be able to get their eyes tested by anyone who has access to our technology. This means people in remote areas will not have to travel long distances to get their eyes checked. Our initial focus will be on children ages six and under but eventually we aim to screen patients of all ages around the world.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Currently, our hardware prototype costs less than a tenth of our competitors. Over time, we believe that our finished product will remain more affordable than our competitor’s products, while building a larger margin for the company as economies of scale develop. Second, the recurring stream of revenue from software subscriptions will help to fund on-going research and development, offering screening for new conditions and diseases.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Our technology is more versatile, affordable and portable than EyeNetra, Spot, GoCheck Kids, and SVL. When deployed through our proprietary hardware, we can capture detailed pictures of the eye which enable care providers to give a prescription to anyone, anywhere. Unlike our competitors, we get ahead by separating out the triage features to the smartphone app and clinical features to a dedicated hardware device, we can control usage and manage costs sustainably. We also benefit on the shorter regulatory path on the smartphone side, while using our own revenue for hardware development.
Team

Founding Story

EyeCheck Solutions began in 2013 when Ashu and Daxal became aware that a billion people globally lack access to vision care. The idea to solve this problem with technology started as a capstone undergraduate design project and we have since decided to pursue it as a venture. Ashu and Daxal met me (Rachel) at a business case competition last year. I brought a new perspective to the team and eventually joined as the third co-founder.

Team

Our team is made up of engineers, international development, business, and optometry students. We have partnered with the University of Waterloo School of Optometry for the vision science element of our technology. The management team consists of the three co-founders Ashu Syal, Daxal Desai and Rachel Friesen. Ashu and Daxal are Systems Design Engineering ’14 grads while Rachel is a current International Development and Business student. Ashu has taken on the CEO role within the team and his vast leadership and management make him more than equipped for this role. In addition, he has experience in software development and has been supporting the team’s research with key insights on hardware development. Ashu brings strong strategic & development insights to the team. Today, Ashu is working on building solid governance and financial support for the company, so that it can move closer to sustainability. Prior to building early prototypes, Daxal built a monitoring tool that saved thousands of work hours for risk managers of Royal Bank of Canada. He has also led a 20 member FIRST Robotics team, earning recognition from Peel District School Board for leadership. His ability to solve complex business problems with creative technical solutions is pivotal for EyeCheck to remain a competitor in vision screening. His ability to lead a diverse group allows him to build and manage a truly diverse technology team. Rachel is instrumental with her background in navigating global partnerships & business logistics. She brings team leadership experiences in Asia, Australia and The Middle East. She is vital in strengthening EyeCheck's global sales cycle. In addition, she helps round out the team with her background in business strategy, marketing, public relations and communications. Today, Rachel is also beginning to oversee the development of the team’s user interfaces and experience to ensure easy adoption. Aldrin is our full-time engineer who graduated from the University of Mumbai with a Bachelors in Electronics and Telecommunications. He is also currently pursuing a postgraduate diploma in Embedded Systems Development at Conestoga College. We also have three part-time engineers. Krishna is a Masters of Engineering student at the University of Waterloo, and Joyce and Archana are Biomedical Engineering students also at the University of Waterloo. In addition, Vivek is a University of Waterloo School of Optometry PhD candidate who helps our engineers with his scientific background. Tina, Pui Yi, and Rumina are EyeCheck's business developers. Tina studies Speech Communication and Business at the University of Waterloo, Pui Yi studies Environment and Business at the University of Waterloo, and Rumina studies Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies at Cardiff University in Wales. Their focus is on social media, content creation, grants and funding, presentations, and market research. Also, Panashe is our web designer. He studies Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. Our team has gained five employees in two months. Each member is extremely diverse with skills in all areas. We are all extremely passionate about EyeCheck's mission and put our 100% into everything we do.
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